The Microsoft Band 2 fitness tracker made its official debut last month in York City alongside the Lumia 950 duo. The newcomer is sleeker, better looking, and smarter than its already capable predecessor.
Just like the first generation, Microsoft designed the Band 2 to pair with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone hardware. The Redmond giant has priced the wearable at $249.99.
The Microsoft Band 2 is Microsoft's second attempt at the making a smart/fitness band and smartphone companion for general usage - regardless of your intended smartphone OS.
What makes the Band 2 unique is that despite its compact size, it packs a whopping 11 sensors. They include an optical heart rate sensor, gyrometer, 3-axis accelerometer, ambient light sensor, UV sensor, GPS, capacitive sensor, barometer, galvanic skin response, skin temperature sensor, and a microphone.
The device's screen is a curved AMOLED unit measures 32 x 12.8mm and has a resolution of 320 x 128 pixels. A haptic vibration motor is also on board.
Microsoft Band 2 is made of metal, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, and thermal plastic elastomer silicone. It has an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance though Microsoft insist that it';s not waterproof and you shouldn't immerse it in any sort of liquid or take it with you in the shower.
There are two physical buttons for controlling the Band 2 in addition to its curved AMOLED touchscreen. The wearable's tiled interface is intuitive and customizable.
Pairing the Band 2 with a smartphone requires a Microsoft account, as well as installing the Microsoft Health app. The latter is available for free on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.
The Microsoft Health app allows you to customize the user interface of the Band 2, manage notifications, and connect the wearable to third-party apps. Some of them include MapMyFitness and RunKeeper, among others.
The fitness tracking abilities of the Microsoft Band 2 are among the best in the business. The wearable will help you track tidbits of your daily activities you didn't know existed - from sleep, through steps and stairs, all the way to golf swings.
Unlike many of its competitors, the Microsoft Band 2 can deliver all your smartphone's notifications. You can customize them too!
You can either wear it as a smartwatch, or as a discrete fitness band alongside a mechanical watch.
Microsoft Band 2 is also much better looking and more comfortable to wear than its predecessor.
The Band 2 is extremely prone to scratches. After barely a week of use as a daily companion, it looked as if it had taken months of beating.
Despite being an improvement over the first generation, Microsoft Band 2 is still a clunky thing for a fitness tracker. However, we reckon that this is a fair price to pay for having so many sensors at your disposal.
At $249, it is a tad expensive. It's dangerously close to the price of a proper smartwatch such as the Samsung Gear S2, for instance, though, granted, few of those smartwatches would work with Windows Phone.
Battery life is a tad underwhelming for a fitness band - in real life it can only last 2-3 days, but that's expected, as Microsoft quotes an expected endurance of 2 days.
Even by limiting your usage, you are unlikely to squeeze more out of it.
The Microsoft Band 2 is massively better than its predecessor, but it's still far from perfect, especially considering its price tag.
The looks are on the premium side for a fitness tracker, but what makes it worth considering is the suite of sensors the company has crammed inside.
However, the lack of waterproofing, the questionable material durability over time, the poor ergonomics, and the underwhelming battery life are likely to put a dent on the device's shiny armor. Committed workout warriors will love and appreciate the band's advanced metrics delivery, but casual users will probably be better off with a similarly priced smartwatch, or a cheaper fitness tracker.
Can't wait for it to arrive in our country. 11 sensors and functions both as a fitness band and a smartwatch. Great value for the price. This is a proper piece of tech.
Another person that doesn't get it. A fitness band is cheaper but doesn't do notifications, a smart watch doesn't do proper fitness tracking and has worse battery life. This is a great compromise between the two.